Tag Archives: Azerbaijan

Turkey/Azerbaijan/ICJ: Threats to independence of judges and lawyers; backsliding on violence against women (UN statements)

June 12, 2017

Speaking at the UN Human Rights Council, the ICJ today highlighted judicial corruption and threats to judges and lawyers in Turkey and Azerbaijan, as well as regressive steps on violence against women in the United States of America and Russian Federation.

The statement, delivered during the interactive dialogue with the UN Special Rapporteur on Independence of Judges and Lawyers and the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, was as follows:

“The ICJ warmly welcomes the new Special Rapporteur on Independence of Judges and Lawyers. As he has highlighted, ensuring judges are accountable for corruption and human rights violations, while respecting judicial independence, should be a global priority. Our Practitioners’ Guide on Judicial Accountability, published last year, should be of particular use to the Rapporteur and other actors in this regard.

Several situations serve as stark examples of other issues raised in his report. In Turkey, recent constitutional amendments give the President and Parliament control over the judiciary’s governing body. This has undermined the judiciary’s independence, already threatened by the mass dismissal of judges and the state of emergency. Lawyers and legal scholars, among others, are routinely dismissed or threatened by the authorities.

In Azerbaijan, the Bar Association is not independent and does not protect its members against undue interference with the exercise of their professional duties. Rather, it often serves as a tool of retaliation against independent human rights lawyers, including through disbarment proceedings that contravene international standards.

We would ask the Special Rapporteur for his views on the role his mandate can play in these and similar situations.

The ICJ also welcomes the report of the Special Rapporteur on violence against women.”


Cameroon/Turkey/Azerbaijan: UN side event “The independence of the legal profession”

April 5, 2017


On 16 March 2017 the Law Society, making use of its ECOSOC consultative status, organised a side event with Lawyers for Lawyers on “The independence of the legal profession” at the United Nations in Geneva.

The side event was held in the margins of the 34th Human Rights Council session and was co-sponsored by the Missions of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Paraguay and Australia.

Mr Diego García-Sayán, UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, appointed in December 2016, was the keynote speaker. It was Mr García-Sayán’s first public speech in that capacity. He outlined the importance of the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers and emphasised the principle that lawyers should be able to practise their profession independently, without fear of external interference and/or intimidation, and without being identified with their clients. Mr García-Sayán also highlighted some priority areas, which he would be exploring further during his mandate, such as corruption and the role played by non-state actors in undermining the rule of law and the independency of the judiciary.

Lawyers from Turkey, Cameroon and Azerbaijan also shared their experiences and extensively discussed the serious challenges facing the legal profession in their respective countries.


Azerbaijan: Activists targeted by ‘government-sponsored’ cyber attack

March 10, 2017

Azeri human rights activists, journalists and political dissidents have been the targets of a fraudulent and sustained ‘spear phishing’ campaign using emails and Facebook chat, apparently aimed at gaining access to their personal information and private communications, said Amnesty International in a new report launched today.

The investigation reveals that the attacks, which can compromise passwords and contacts, have been directed at various government critics for the past 13 months. Victims told Amnesty International they believed the Azerbaijani authorities are behind the attacks.

“Our research reveals that a targeted and coordinated cyber campaign is being waged against critical voices in Azerbaijan, many of whom are long-time victims of government repression,” said Claudio Guarnieri, Senior Technologist at Amnesty International.

“The malware used has been designed with the express intention of gathering as much private information as possible about a target. Given the profiles of those targeted, it is not hard to see why victims believe the authorities are responsible.”

One victim was the lawyer and human rights activist Rasul Jafarov, who was alerted to the attack when he received a phone call from a colleague in October 2016 warning him that he had been sent an email and attachment from an address very similar to his.

A former Amnesty International prisoner of conscience, Rasul Jafarov has previously spent more than a year and a half in prison on trumped-up, politically motivated charges stemming from his human rights work.

He told Amnesty International: “I believe that [the Azerbaijani authorities] are trying to closely watch everyone who is criticizing the government, who is implementing different activities, or projects or campaigns which the government doesn’t like.”


Azerbaijan: The Law Society of Upper Canada expresses grave concern about the harassment of lawyer Elchin Sadigov in Azerbaijan

January 30, 2017

The Law Society of Upper Canada

The Law Society of Upper Canada* expresses grave concern about the harassment of lawyer Elchin Sadigov in Azerbaijan.

Elchin Sadigov is a prominent criminal lawyer in Azerbaijan whose clients include several prisoners of conscience and other individuals who have faced politically motivated charges.

It has come to our attention that on November 2, 2016, Elchin Sadigov was threatened by an investigator from the Main Organized Crime Department (MOCD) of the Ministry of the Interior after he disclosed, in an interview, information about the alleged torture of his client, journalist Fikret Farmazoglu, by MOCD staff. Fikret Farmazoglu is currently detained at the MOCD. Reports indicate that the investigator told Elchin Sadigov that he would “pay a high price” for accusing the MOCD of torture.

Since the November 2, 2016 incident, Elchin Sadigov and his family have faced additional harassment and intimidation, including a media article accusing Elchin Sadigov of having an affair with Fikret Farmazoglu’s wife, the hacking of his Facebook page and the creation of fake accounts using his name. In addition, police interrogated Elchin Sadigov’s brother and asked for information about Elchin Sadigov’s wife and children. It is our understanding that police later told Elchin Sadigov that they had received a request to collect data about him and his family, but declined to disclose the reasons.

The Law Society is deeply concerned about Elchin Sadigov’s case. Reports indicate that there have been a growing number of cases of harassment, intimidation and persecution of human rights defenders and human rights lawyers by Azerbaijani authorities in recent years. We believe strongly that lawyers should be able to exercise their legitimate duties without fear for their lives, for their liberty and for their security.


http://www.lsuc.on.ca/newsarchives.aspx?id=2147485737&cid=2147503473 (FRANCAIS)

Azerbaijan: ICJ intervenes before European Court of Human Rights in defence of human rights lawyers

November 8, 2016

The ICJ intervened today before the European Court of Human Rights in the cases of three human rights lawyers who had been denied Bar membership because of their human rights activity.

The cases concern the compliance of the procedures of admission to and disbarment from the Bar Association of Azerbaijan of human rights lawyers Annagi Hajibeyli, Khalid Bagirov and Intigam Aliyev.

In its submissions, the ICJ stressed that, while lawyers have to perform their professional functions in conformity with ethical standards, the legal profession’s systems of admission and discipline must not enforce such obligations in a way that impairs the exercise of human rights by lawyers or their capacity to effectively represent their clients.

Based on the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights, as well as international standards governing the legal profession, the ICJ submission addresses:

Azerbaijan: ICJ intervenes before European Court of Human Rights in defence of human rights lawyers

Azerbaijan: the independence and role of lawyers must be respected, ICJ report says





Azerbaijan: Harassed, Imprisoned, Exiled Azerbaijan’s Continuing Crackdown on Government Critics, Lawyers, and Civil Society

October 20, 2016

Human Rights Watch

The government of Azerbaijan continues to wage a vicious crackdown on critics and dissenting voices. The space for independent activism, critical journalism, and opposition political activity has been virtually extinguished by the arrests and convictions of many activists, human rights defenders, and journalists, as well as by laws and regulations restricting the activities of independent groups and their ability to secure funding. Independent civil society in Azerbaijan is struggling to survive.

However, even as the government released some activists, bloggers, and journalists, authorities have arrested many others on spurious criminal and administrative charges to prevent them from carrying out their legitimate work. None of those released had their convictions vacated, several face travel restrictions, others left the country fearing further politically motivated persecution, or had to halt their work due to almost insurmountable bureaucratic hurdles hampering their access to funding. Authorities have also harassed the relatives of those attempting to carry out their activism from abroad, in some cases by bringing criminal charges against them. Numerous lawyers representing government critics in legal proceedings have been disbarred on questionable grounds, apparently to prevent them from carrying out their work.


Azerbaijan: End of mission statement by Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders

September 22, 2016

This is my first visit to Azerbaijan, a country that has undergone significant changes over the past decades and that faces many geopolitical challenges. Let me begin by warmly thanking the Government of Azerbaijan for inviting me and for its cooperation throughout this visit. The objective of my visit was to assess, in the spirit of cooperation and dialogue, the environment in which human rights defenders and civil society operate in the country.

In Azerbaijan, human rights lawyers increasingly face challenges through a number of means, including criminal prosecutions, disciplinary action, and other administrative measures. This is despite the State’s obligation to guarantee that lawyers can discharge their professional duties and functions and their rights are protected. In my view, disbarments of human rights lawyers, together with criminal prosecutions, searches and freezing of their assets are part of the broader harassment facing human rights defenders in the country. The well-known cases of Intigam Aliyev, Aslan Ismayilov and Alaif Hasanov demonstrate the intimidation of independent lawyers through detention and lawsuits. The removal of lawyers from sensitive cases and holding them as a witness in the same case was used against Yalcin Imanov, for example, when he was defending employees of Radio Azadliq/Liberty in December 2014. 

For those lawyers who are members of the bar association, disciplinary proceedings have been one of the main means of retaliation for their human rights or professional activities. I have reviewed the cases of at least four lawyers (Khalid Bagirov, Muzaffar Bakhsiyev, Alaif Hasanov and Aslan Ismayilov), who have been unjustifiably disbarred from the Bar Association. This is despite the fact that, in practice, the Bar Association suffers from significant institutional weaknesses, which raise serious questions about its legitimacy and puts the ability of the body to effectively regulate the profession in severe doubt.